The planned participation of self-appointed Cold War veterans in the annual 5 May (Liberation Day) parade in Wageningen has sparked outrage among World War II veterans.
National daily De Telegraaf reports that veterans of the Dutch missions to Iraq and Afghanistan are also strongly opposed to the presence of the Cold War veterans.
Soldiers who served in the Dutch armed forces during the Cold War era can buy unofficial decorations from interest group Kovom, to be worn during the parade. Kovom’s attempts to win official recognition for the Cold War ‘vets’ have failed due to the fact that no hostilities occurred between 1949 and 1991.
However, the Cold War soldiers were nevertheless granted permission to take part in the parade. The coordinator of the organising committee says in De Telegraaf that “In addition to the liberation, we also mark the preservation of our freedom in which the Cold War played a role.” The participation of the Kovom group will be evaluated to decide whether it bears repetition.
The fantasy medals of the ‘Brezhnev fighters’ have aroused strong emotions among the veterans who served in real wars. They fear the decorations they earned under the most difficult of circumstances will compare unfavourably with the ostentatious medals worn by the members of the Kovom group and the crowd's attentions could be diverted from the real veterans.
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